April - May 2016

A message from our president


After a quiet Cape winter of crisp, cold days and beautiful star-lit nights, there is new energy, and the pace of life has picked up. Of all that we welcome, perhaps no sight thrills us more than the sight of our beloved right whales.

A right whale spotted by one of our
 Facebook friends

Look at our Facebook page for close-up views of these awesome survivors of an endangered species. If you find yourself nearby, visit Provincetown's Herring Cove to sight spouts just off shore.

Although the natural world has been quiet, your FCCNS board has been buzzing--busy as the bees we will see in a few months. You will notice our website now provides more detail about us, changes made by board members with suggestions from our supporters.

We have both new and returning volunteers responsible for summer programming and they have almost finished the summer line-up. Incidentally, last summer, your dues paid for musical performances and lecturers that entertained over 1500 people.

These events typically fill Salt Pond auditorium to capacity, and are popular with people of all ages.

The annual FCCNS Magazine is in production, staffed by volunteers with assistance from National Park Service staff and technical support from GateHouse Media, more specifically The Cape Codder and Cape Cod Times.

We will send the Magazine to our current members in late June, so if you haven't renewed, please do so.

We've also planning our Summer Gala, a fund raiser featuring Dr. Stephen Leatherman, nationally known as Dr. Beach for his annual ratings of America's Best Beaches.

The Payomet Performing Arts Center has graciously lent us its wonderful entertainment tent in Truro for the early evening of August 9. More details to come, so save the date.

See you soon!

Pat Canavan

Dr. Beach is our special guest on August 9
for our annual fundraiser.

Member News

Spring Event
Nauset Marsh Walk

Join Ranger Dani Crawford for an easy 1.3 mile walk along Nauset Marsh.

See how the salt marsh is coming alive as the season changes, and learn about the different ways people have valued the natural resources of the marsh throughout history.

Meet at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, Eastham, on Friday, May 6 at 10 AM.

Save the Date!
FCCNS Fundraiser on August 9

It will be under the tent in Truro.

Friends will hold a fundraiser on Tuesday evening, August 9, at the Payomet Center for the Performing Arts in Truro. Featured speaker will be Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka "Dr. Beach."

Learn the science behind the ratings of his Top Ten U.S. Beaches. Coast Guard Beach at the National Seashore was ranked No. 7 by Dr. Beach in previous years.

With complimentary wine and beer, delectable hors d'oeuvres, live music, live auction and the chance to honor all that Cape Cod National Seashore means, you won't want to miss this special, celebratory evening. Stay tuned for additional details.

We are searching for delectable items to auction at our August fundraiser. If you have an idea of something to contribute - from a painting or photograph of the Seashore to an off-season weekend at your summer house or some other treasure, please contact Pat Canavan.

Many thanks!

Earth Day Clean Up
at Herring Cove

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 23 between 9 - 10:30 AM.

A clean-up of Herring Cove Beach co-sponsored by Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore and Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

Meet at the north end of the Herring Cove Beach parking lot at 9 AM. Please bring work gloves and water - trash bags will be provided.

One of the cool things about this cleanup is that the Center catalogues/IDs every single item collected!

See the tremendous variety of debris that unfortunately collects on the beach, and help spruce it up with this much needed spring clean-up.

Meet Dani Crawford

Dani Crawford, the South District Interpretive Supervisor at Salt Pond Visitors Center, joined the Cape Cod National Seashore team last July. Her previous post was at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, where she spent six years as a sub-district interpreter, a park guide, and a seasonal interpreter.

Dani is originally from Pennsylvania, but had never visited the Cape. She was immediately interested when she saw the opening at CCNS. In addition to being closer to family, she is excited to learn about the unique environment and ecosystems that make up the Park.

Dani has created a 45-minute program about great white sharks, a topic of great local interest, which was presented during February break and will be scheduled again during April break.

She also wants to create opportunities for "facilitated dialogue;" a more conversational approach to education that lends itself to a situation such as ours, where the park boundary is interwoven with the community. On hot topics such as seals and sharks where opinions and concerns vary, an open exchange of perspectives helps to promote understanding and communication.

Dani is excited to have five new and five returning staff members to help with a busy summer of centennial programs and celebrations.

Seashore News

Seashore staff, partners, and volunteers are gearing up for a season of non-stop celebration of the founding of the National Park Service in 1916.

Special events, including concerts, commemorations, ranger programs, and exhibits will begin in April.

The weather is sure to be warmer for the
April 11-15 cleanup

First up is National Volunteer Week from April 11-15. Hosted by the park and AmeriCorps Cape Cod, and featuring volunteers from across the Cape, this will be a clean-up, spruce-up blitz across the seashore.

The following week is National Park Week and National Junior Ranger Day, occurring from April 16 to 24.

On April 20, it'll be all hands on deck in the Salt Pond Visitor Center parking area, as staff showcase the variety of vehicles and tools needed to manage the national seashore. This will be a fun, hands-on program for families.

International Marconi Day is on April 24. Visit Coast Guard Beach in Eastham throughout the day to see ham radio operators in action as they make two-way contact with other operators around the world celebrating the birthday of the "Father of Radio."

Marconi's history-making transatlantic wireless transmission was made from a spot near the current Marconi Station Site in Wellfleet.

A number of other walks and ranger programs will occur during National Park Week

Storm Damage

Though we have had a relatively mild winter, two major storms damaged national seashore facilities. These include the stairs at Nauset Light Beach that were destroyed in high wind and heavy surf, and the Herring Cove North parking lot.

In addition, some leaks at the Captain Penniman House are causing interior damage. The park competed successfully for storm damage funds and has received funds to replace the Nauset Light Beach stairs and to repair the leaks at the Captain Penniman House.

Comprehensive Shorebird
Management Plan

Extensive public comments received during the public comment period are being analyzed. For the 2016 season the national seashore's current shorebird management practices will remain in place.
Science in the Seashore

Wave movements are observed here

About 15 years ago, Dr. Graham Giese, co-founder of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, and Marc Adams, GIS specialist for the National Park Service, began updating a survey of the outer Cape. The original survey done in the 1880s was conducted by Henry Marinadin, a Swiss coastal engineer who had come to this country to survey East coast harbors for the government during the Civil War.

Marinadin surveyed the coast of the Outer Cape from 1887-1889, during which he established over 230 transects along the shore from Chatham to Long Point in Provincetown. His original data giving longitude and latitude positions was obtained with compass and alidade, the typical surveying equipment of the time. Some of the lines were extended offshore using a boat and lead line to find the bottom.

Dr. Giese obtained the original data and Marc Adams translated it into modern GPS points. Using back-pack GPS equipment and a lot of footwork by Dr. Giese, Adams, and others, all of the original transects were re-measured. Using a boat with a fathometer and GPS instrument synced, most the lines were run offshore to the 15 fathom mark. This provided a very accurate view of the changes that had occurred to the outer Cape during the last 125 years and gave a good handle on how fast the Cape was changing its shape.

As a follow up, a small shed was installed about 2004, in partnership with the Cape Cod National Seashore, overlooking the outer beach in the Highland Center area of Truro. Its purpose was to provide a recording site to observe the waves hitting the outer beach over an extended period of time. 

Mark Adams, left, and
Dr. Graham Giese, right

Dave Spang, retired Park Interpreter and former science teacher from Lexington (and current board member of FCCNS), with his wife Gwen, took on the job of making observations every other day for the last 10 years. The information recorded includes the weather and the height, period, and angle to the shore of the waves.

From this data Dr. Giese is able to figure out the energy of the waves and direction of transfer of the eroding sand. Secondary information comes from the need to periodically move the shed back from the cliff's edge. Each time this is done the shed is rolled back exactly two meters - a total of 12 meters from the original location to date!

Our Mission Statement

Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore (FCCNS) is the not-for-profit fundraising partner of the Cape Cod National Seashore; a partnership established in 1987 to help preserve, protect and enhance the fragile environment and unique cultural heritage of the Park. By leveraging existing federal support with additional private philanthropy, FCCNS engages members, donors and visitors alike in the shared values of cultural appreciation, environmental stewardship and historical preservation.